Printwear Shop Profile: Wild West Designs

Evan West operates Wild West Designs in Franklin, Tenn., an embroidery shop that specializes in original stock designs. 

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Embroidery, digitizing, and sublimation are the primary decoration services listed on the Wild West Designs company website but for owner Evan West, these services are part of a rich family tradition. West started Wild West Designs roughly seven years ago in Franklin, Tenn. as a continuation of where he’d already began.

“I actually started in this trade when we first moved up here from Dallas,” says West. “My mom had her own shop in downtown Franklin, and I started there.”

At just 14 years old, West began learning the basics of sewing and stitching. His mother’s business was primarily machine quilting, but it helped spark an interest in the decorated apparel industry, West explains. The business later added embroidery services as a way to branch out and offer more options for customers, and West says this arm of the business is where he found his calling. Eventually, West headed up the digitizing part of his mother’s business, and subsequently took an interest in embroidery.

“The one thing that I always liked [about embroidery] was taking a design from a concept all the way to completion,” West adds.

The creative drive for creating a design from a basic concept can be seen on West’s latest venture, an online stock design store he launched earlier this year in addition to his regular shop. The site offers a broad range of stock categories including animals, holiday graphics, and outdoor themes. Unlike some stock stores, West’s designs are unique to his business. In many instances, the design is derived from a basic hand-drawn sketch that West creates, and  digitizes so it can be sold in the online store.

As for what kind of business helps the shop thrive, West says he enjoys a mixture of steady e-commerce, as well as local custom jobs for various foundations and community groups.

“With local businesses, they typically do short orders. I generally enjoy those because the clients let me do those designs from scratch,” explains West. “Whether it’s a custom pillowcase or table runner that I also embroider, all the design work is done in-house.”

West runs his one-man operation out of a shop connected to his house, where he operates multiple embroidery machines and a bridge machine for tackling sequin decoration. When asked how he stays afloat in a competitive, digital world while juggling all parts of his company’s operations, West describes his success with one word, “reputation.”

By way of a penchant for Mexican food, West says he started his business by establishing relationships with local Mexican restaurants in the Franklin, Tenn. area, and creating custom designs for those restaurants. That initial client base helped spread West’s reputation throughout the community via word of mouth, growing the Wild West client list to what it is today.  

Looking toward the future, West says he enjoys the volume of business he’s currently experiencing. Building a larger collection of styles and themes in the online stock design store, West contends, is a long term goal since it fosters the creativity that got him started.

To see some recent design jobs by Wild West Designs, scroll below for a gallery of images.

For more information on Wild West Designs, visit: http://www.wildwestdesigns.biz/

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Mike Clark

Mike Clark is the editor-at-large for GRAPHICS PRO. Contact him at mclark@nbm.com.

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